Accomplishment Amnesia

Over the last couple of weeks, I have made at least two major giant strides. First, I became a year older and 24 hours later, I bagged a Masters degree. These were above other reasons, something worth celebrating and being euphoric about. BUT……NO! I wasn’t all that happy. As a matter of fact, I had what some social scientist regard as Accomplishment Amnesia.

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Accomplishment amnesia occurs when we get so busy meeting our obligations and moving on to the “next thing” that we quickly forget what we’ve done in the past (however distant or recent) that has value.

It is a state of mind whereby individual works so hard for a cause/goal, but at the point of savouring the dividends, the individual feels less of themselves, thinking they have not accomplished as much as they hoped to. This feeling has flooded by thoughts over the past months because, as every young and ambitious person, I strive to outdo myself and the plans I have set out for myself. In the event that it all does not work as planned whether due to faults of mine or the laxity people I entrusted with the plan, while working on it,or just Posterity taking its course in life, i fall into this mode of not remembering or considering that I have accomplished much even when people slide into my DMs to profess how in many ways I have inspired them to take action and refuse to be a couch potato.

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I personally think that this ‘condition’ is birth from fear of failing and most importantly, the anxiety that comes with anticipating what the future holds and how bright or dim it would be. the concern about talks on purpose and the sheer uncertainty that everything I do, have done or still doing is all for that one-word Spiritual and motivational leaders have come to terms with using to make a chunk of money from the ignoramus like me.

So here I am again, writing this from the comfort of my bed, my favourite tea at hand, and just pondering on what the future holds. Would I end up with a title after my name saying PhD or would I in the next couple of weeks, months and…. (hopefully not years) find meaning to my life and finally seize the moment to walk in it. Would I earn a living doing what I love or find myself doing something to make ends meet. Would I marry Oyinbo due to the pressure from friends and family members just to ‘secure’ an unsure future or would I find the ying to my yang and live happily…

While I still live in the uncertainty of tomorrow, I choose to trust the Almighty who knows the end from the beginning while I swallow my pride count my blessings for the accomplishments I have attained the last couple of years.

Photo Credits: Emmanuel Johnson and Adis Kanova.

This Oyinbo life sef!

Before stepping foot in the white man’s land, Everyone said it was one of the highest achievements one could ever attain. That my life would change for the best instantly, the grass is ‘over’ green on this side, that I would have fewer things to worry about and in short, this is a PERFECT LIFE!

BUT…

No one said the cold would almost make me lose my mind, or that I would have to subject myself to learning ‘phone’ orBritish accent because these people say they find it hard to understand my kind of English.

Nobody told me to be prepared for a culture shock. where I had to get used to calling my lecturers by their first name or in some cases a nickname depending on the lecturer. instead or Mr this or Miss that, Dr Teke or ‘Prof Prof’, Daddy, Baba, or Mummy as I was used to calling my lecturers back at home or else your carry over is just nearby.

Yes, indeed, they told me I would not miss home cooking as such- and I really did not. well…sometimes. with one too many African restaurants and shops you might not miss much.

BUT!

They also did not tell me I would not be able to eat my Agbalumo, roasted corn, point and kill, Masara (my definition of boiled corn), ube, Mango that drips juice down through your elbow as you use your tongue to put it under control. No one said I would miss eating dried Aya, Kush and Dush, drinking Kunu and Zobo (need I mention pure water in those dry and hot Abuja weather).They did not tell me I would have to fast from Fura and Nunu, fired cheese (Wara), and Ofe Owerri! Lord! the thought of how much I have missed is making me cry sef. which kain life be this?

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They forgot to also tell me that Christmas and Easter would be like a day of mourning. you are subjected to staying at home. Nothing like marathon eating from house to house (Including take away meat) or visiting UncleKeske for Christmas Choi.They forgot to say my Amala would be replaced with mashed potatoes with peas and turkey roast or fish and chips and Apple crumbles. This Oyinbo life sef!

They told me I would have a better life here with more opportunities. More opportunities to grow? no doubt. but that better life ehn, more like I knew the true meaning of depression. As a typical Nigerian babe with a knack for psychology, there are certain illnesses we took for granted because the awareness of the severity wasn’t blown up like HIV or Ebola. So you could imagine when I came here and I was told I suffered from mild depression. I was like ‘is that a new type of Malaria?’ When you would always have to RSVP before visiting someone, why wouldn’t people be depressed? You cannot just be in the neighbourhood and say ‘i was passing, and I just wanted to say hello even though half the time, it is a lie’.

Talking about RSVP, nobody informed me that to attend a wedding, common wedding o you would have to RSVP on or before a particular date or else, no food for you. And your RSVP admits one; when in Naija, one invitation card is for ‘and family’ (which really means anybody).

No one ever told me I  would know the true meaning of racism. that there is a difference between been black and being African, that even amongst my African people, I would face segregation- when we all need to fight and stand for our rights, we are Africans but when it is time to reap the benefits, I become Nigerian or Ghanian or East African. No one prepared me for the backlash I would receive from these dear white people because of the colour of my skin. I would have to deal with been labelled with an identity when filling out every ‘equal opportunities’ form that says: choose one of the following, African (Black), Black (Carribean), Black (British).

No one prepared my mind for the cynicism of the British man, that when a British man tells you something is good, you have to check the semantics and syntax and when he says ‘ I’m afraid’, just get on those two knees of yours to pray he is not about to throw a bombshell at you.

I wish someone told me that my passport would sometimes stand as a hindrance to getting a good job here. My certificate would in some cases be an obstacle because my boss is probably just a diploma holder and he/she would not want to feel threatened by me. That no matter your degree, if you do not have any hands-on experience, you are going to OYO. I wish someone just whispered to me to be careful of all I read and hear because I would graduate a critic of almost everything cultural and issues on identity.

No one mentioned that the academia in this part of the world is based on competition. A ‘healthy’ competition teachers (un)consciously put in place for everyone to become rivals with each other because of a grade.

Nobody said, holding on to my Christian faith would be one of the toughest decisions I would ever make. Because social liberalism and Christianity have a lot of differences.

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Anyway, At least this Oyinbo life has made me love myself more, harness my strengths and work on my weaknesses. it has made me realise that all those times I almost regretted going to a public University prepared me for times such as this.

BUT… then again!

This Oyinbo life sef!

#HaveyouHeard! Naija has a Hotel Culture.

Culture: the way of life of a group of people. At least so I was taught in Social studies class some donkey years ago. However, this term has over the years sprung up one too many semantics. Some have come to terms with an ideology that wherever people live, work and often share similar interest, culture develops in such a space.

A social researcher once told me, that culture is like a bacteria (good or bad) once it finds root in a safe space, it grows. That is why you would find culture in music as the example of pop culture, in arts, in business (as seen in their fashion and speech). you name it, wherever and whatever floods the interest of a group of people, Culture develops there.

A couple of months ago, I had a random yet informative conversation with my fellow culture critiques on culture and identity after some vodka shots. One of whom is from the Gambia and had visited Lagos, Nigeria recently for the first time out of nowhere said with so much excitement that:’Nigeria has what I call a hotel culture Tolu’. My other friend and I who were both Nigerians were taken aback for a second to digest and comprehend what he actually meant. He probably saw the confusion on our faces so he went further to say: Nigerians have a thing for using hotels for almost everything. the hotel is a broke man’s way to hide his sexual sins while owning a guest house is the rich man’s way to follow suite. It then dawned on us that Nigerian men and cougars alike have made it a ‘thing’ to use the hotel or what we called ‘hush houses’ to satisfy their secret desires and in other cases, for those really discreet meetings that can not and should not be held in public. It seems according to my Gambian friend that the hotel management have come to this understanding and have become experts at keeping mum over what happens with their clients. (i mean, what happens in room 117 stays there right?).

He further told us that that must be the reason why you find a hotel or a guest house (as they are often called) almost at every street you walk on. Though we are yet to fully accept his standpoint, it seems like a reality we never knew existed. So for those in Nigeria, and those planning to visit, say hello to the new culture called Hotel Hush!

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Commonwealth African Summit: My memoirs

It has been days turned weeks, turned months since i last  i dropped my thoughts here. i know the question on your mind would be, where have i been or what happened while i was away? in order not to bore you with all the drama that came, i would just say: i had a research project to finish, i had life’s questions i needed to answer, i found love…yes love! (considering i wasn’t searching for it).

That been said, after the challenging face of  finishing  a degree, i was at a place in my life were i was not not sure of the next line of action. I felt it was time for me to share all England had thought me with other young Nigerians back at home but i guess, well….  things did not go as planned. So here i am in between getting a job and applying for a Masters by Research or my parents choice, undergo a PHD (which i am still uncertain about). i was invited by a new friend of mine, who doubles as a the commonwealth young person of the year for 2016 to the Commonwealth youth awards which also coincided with the Commonwealth day and Commonwealth African Summit. It was three days of  networking, brain storming, insightful discussions from members of the house of Lords, the Ooni of Ife, Mr Tonye Cole and so many other dignitaries.

However, the most part which caught my attention was the last day (because all other days was on security and peace building and i was like… who dis one epp) when i listened to young Africans speak on the ways they uphold sustainability in a changing environment. Though i have been this issue as a burden for a while now, it was very mind blowing to here what people are doing about it in various spheres of their endeavours. (from tourism to politics, to sports, agriculture, social entrepreneurship,entertainment/theatre etc).

At the end of the program my take home was enormous, the burden i had for we youths to change our narratives turned in to a rage-a rage for change. It dawned on me from the session that it is our responsibility as young Africans to go back to our various countries, use what we have learnt in the West to improve our own environment. we can become employers of labour if we choose to turn the problems we complain about to solutions, if we can set up a team of people who are schooled in various fields to implement change in those fields, we would one step at a time improve employment and  the economic life. We cannot continue to wait for infrastructure from the government. isn’t it obvious the government cannot help herself too. we need to find creative ways to reduce unemployment back home. Yes, we would receive a backlash when we return home and that is one reason many have refused to go home. However, the backlash is a reflection of two things: 1. how we as Africans have gotten so used to mediocrity, we do not even see it as mediocrity anymore, we have now made it a culture.2. this pride that Africans have, we know we do not know, yet we are to proud to want to know from someone who knows.(PUN intended).

I learnt so much i would have to run a part two for this post. but i need to leave you with this: The reason why Africa faces the problems you still complain about, is because you have refused to be Part of fixing the problem. It is rare to meet young Africans who have attained quite a lot for themselves yet maintain a humble personae and believe that they would not be where they are without the people we regard as ‘common’ i learnt that from the young men i had conversations with at the session.

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And finally, To change the African narrative the western media has of our continent,it starts with us….YES, US!

PS: i connected with Dayo Isreal after 6 years. we first met at UN conference on the world at 7 billion in 2011 now we met at a commonwealth summit he was hosting. Dayo is one guy that has taught me from afar that we are not too young to be part of decision making and mapping out a framework for young people rights. He is currently running for the chairmanship position at Lagos mainland and i endorse him.

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PSS: i met another person who resigned from the place i dream to work at and he is currently doing stuff that relate to what i have planned to do for African youths at Coventry University. it was an honour to meet Soji Adeniyi my new mentor.

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PSSS: you cannot say you are living if people around you have not become better because you are in their lives.

ok no more PSes

i am done talking.

err… wait another PS: pardon my picture quality, i was too excited like a child who was given ice cream to take the pictures firm.

Now i am done.

 

iBrand… Do You?

As we experience a paradigm shift from times when every young person’s dream was to become a 9-5iver to times when our jobs expect us to work round the clock. Times when the jobs our parents do/did for a living  seems to go extinct as we embrace  what social researchers have termed the era of the entrepreneurial self.  Thing is, whether we chose to accept it or not, social media and citizen journalism has opened us up to a world where every post made is regarded as authentic and a representation of who we are.

From the bloggers who chose to write about life, love and everything in between to the vloggers we chose to give 20mins of our time (i still do not understand the logic in posting about your everyday life on youtube for 100,000 viewers to enjoy watching without posting the ‘real’ e.g. your  toilet moments’ – but then, what do i know.

Back to the authentic self. You see, researchers like Anita harris are of the opinion that neoliberalism has created a new identity for young people around the world with the help of social media. Young people (in most cases, millennials)  develop themselves into a brand identity. Making youths to become performers of their own lifestyle by conducting himself/herself  as an enterprise through a vast ensemble of experiences. What is sold  and bought are our personal ideologies online (Gordon 1991:42).

In a recent survey conducted by YOUTUBE, people who post and earn a living through vlogs are between the age 16-24 and most of them are girls.

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This neoliberal identity is said to have  emerged  due to the widespread  unemployment rate in most countries of the world. Foucault’s discussions on power believes neoliberalism is a sure solution to the various problems facing a static economy. One could argue that  the absence of a white collar job can be the reason most young people have turned to social media to vent their frustrations and problems. T

THE TOKS STAR

Although, the idea of vlogging and blogging as a profession has not until recently gathered momentum in Nigeria. However, with the few vloggers are known in Nigeria, a certain lady who introduced the idea of vlogging to Nigerians stands out. Toke Makinwa. She is often tagged as a realist to some and a controversial lady  (with the main aim to seek attention) by others. She first started by giving relationship advice and what women ought to do to attract the man of their dreams as her tips had worked for her.  Unfortunately, her divorce to her long time boyfriend changed the course of her vlog as she began to question the social construct in Nigeria by advising young women to learn to live wild and free, be independent and open to exploring new things.

Herein lies the problem,  inasmuch as these vloggers portray themselves to us with the  ‘i am just like you’ tag, which might be true at inception of the vlog but when the endorsements roll in and when the vlog begins to pay the bills, and they are basking in the new euphoria of fame, selling products, endorsing brands and becoming brand ambassadors, should they still refer to themselves as authentic because many of the viewers still live in the illusion of the vloggers reality.

…but then, I am just saying!

Bosses Without Borders

The choice of headline for this post is quite hilarious to me. First, because I was not sure of a suitable topic to describe this piece and secondly, I was trying to play upon words (am not quite sure if I nailed it though).

Anyway, this post is about bosses. Yes…! Bosses!

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Bosses you might probably refer to as HORRIBLE but for some reason,you can’t seem to get them out of your head. yep! Those Bosses! Bosses that have instilled a form of fear in you  lingering over your new bosses or anyone in authority over you, bosses who regardless of how horrible you say they are, have taught you something unforgettable about life. Sometimes, you might just have one, other times life throws you more than one of this species of bosses at you. Ever had a boss in this category…well I have and I want to talk about her (Yes! HER)

But First…

You see, Michel Foucault once explained in his book on Power and Subject that the  subject  is described as both a state of being subject to another’s control and of obtaining and becoming knitted to an identity or position while power is exercised on free subjects and insofar as they are free (Foucault 1982). You might wonder what I am trying to drive at with Foucault’s position of the power and subject. You see, according to Foucault no boss should have this form of domineering power on his/her subject without freedom/free will because one way or another, the subjects wilfully  obtain the identity of the person with the power. Unfortunately, these bosses have probably never read Foucault’s book in their lives. so back to my story…

Two years ago I was at a place in life called (In-between jobs-which is also termed as jobless). Fortunately, luck shined on me and  I had the privilege of working with a young woman who was as ambitious as I was. For the purpose of this post, we would call her ‘Boss lady’. She had a plethora of businesses but I found myself in her PR firm first as an assistant but I got fired on the grounds that I was too slow in constructing a perfect lie for publicity. Before my sack, the boss lady knew I loved to write so she rehired me as a writer for her magazine firm. this time, because I understood what it was like being without a job, I was ready to do anything to keep my Job. Moreover, how many bosses give you a second chance.

Hey! almost forgot to add, Bosslady was a good ‘famzer’ (to the non- Nigerians, let’s just say a famzer is someone who can exaggerate on everything- they are not liars, they just sweet tongue people into things) I was famzed into the job, because she loved how hardworking and the network I had built for myself at a young age. However, because I had a bad sense of style, she was ready to mould me to become a mini her (truth be told, I wanted to be like her, I really admired boss lady and I still do).

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Since I had been given a second chance, I was all -in this time, sad thing was I resumed without am employment letter or contract, an I.D. card to show I was working for the company, no salary structure, no closing time or resumption time NOTHING (though I was told in passing that my work time was 9:00- 17:00hrs but that was in passing not documented i ended up working 7 days a week 9:00- 23:00hrs all through the five working days) I did not complain because I wanted to work and gain new skills.  However, I learnt more than skills. I was an errand girl for her personal errands, her only staff writer, her blogger, her second assistant and above all, her office Buddie (yep I won her heart that much).

I don’t plan to share a life history of two years ago with you to bore you, I just want to share the main things boss lady has taught me despite the fact that I was used, insulted, sacked, bashed, you name it while I was with her(she even told me to watch Devil wears Prada again before working with her- reason for the picture) and these tips have helped me in my life’s journey so far. that is why I said earlier that though we might not have any business to do together, the experience I had with her was priceless.

  1. You need to have a fashion culture.
  2. If you want to be taken seriously and/or respected, dress the part.
  3. Read as though your life depends on it (you never know when you would need that piece of information you read about)
  4. Be inquisitive, ask questions.
  5. If you want to be broke in life have friends that would never challenge your thought process or think of new and creative ideas
  6. If you want to be broke, mingle with mediocre and vice-versa
  7. If you make a mistake, beat yourself, learn the lessons and MOVE ON!
  8. Question things around you, Find answers.
  9. If you go through a bad break up your rebound or next relationship/ partner should be waa aa ay better than the former. it’s therapeutic according to boss lady.
  10. Find your niche, train dirty to perfect it, make sure you be a boss in that niche. Be your own competition.
  11. And when life throws you lemons, honey make a cocktail lemonade is for the mediocre.

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I hope Boss lady has taught you something as she has taught me. I just hope she understands Foucault’s idea of power and uses it accordingly.

 

Photo Credits:  Quotesgram and Cosmouk.com